ADVOCACY CALL: Proposed Visa Cost Increase For Musicians
A call to action from artist and Bass Musician reader, Brendan Rothwell
Proposed Visa Cost Increase For Musicians…
Some challenging news regarding proposed cost increases to visas that will impact all international artists looking to gain entry to the US market. Action is required by March 6, 2023.
The Big Picture: The American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada (AFM) is greatly concerned with the proposed increases to a range of existing Visa types by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
By the Numbers: The proposed increase for the P2 (touring musician) visa is +250% (from USD $460 to USD $1615)
The Bottom Line: If implemented, this will have a devastating impact on the ability of international touring musicians to perform in the US. For me, as a Canadian musician, performing in the US will become cost-prohibitive.
Where it Stands: The AFM is actively lobbying Homeland Security and US government, and calling for support from Americans inside and outside of the Music Industry… you!
Go Deeper: Here’s the full story, and the process to enter opposition comments.
Some points to consider in your comments:
- Music is collaborative in nature, providing U.S. artists with the ability to connect with international artists, who in turn provide those U.S. artists with access to markets abroad.
- International touring artists contribute to the U.S. economy in the way of filling venues, booking hotels, and the other many costs associated with a tour.
- The increases proposed are upwards of 251%, cost of living has not increased to that level.
- Drastic fee increases will stifle international cultural activity, put U.S.-based jobs at risk, and have a negative economic ripple effect on communities supported by arts events.
What’s Next: In addition to providing comments through the Federal Register link above, you are encouraged to write to the offices of your Senators and members of the U.S. House of Representatives before March 6, 2023.
To simplify your process, I’ve included a suggested statement. You can address this to the relevant Representative or Senator and I strongly encourage you to personalize the content if possible.
With my thanks for your time and support,
Dear Representative or Senator ______
I want to let you know about the substantive increases that United States Citizenship and Immigration (USCIS) is proposing on musicians who tour in the US. The proposed increases are upwards of 250%, well beyond the cost of living and inflation.
USCIS imposing such heavy increases will vastly limit international touring and stifle cultural collaborations, activities that contribute significant revenue to the US economy. These also create a multiplier effect for local communities across the States – benefits dining and lodging revenues, live music venues bookings, ticket sales, transportation rentals and gas expenditures, and overall provide general employment in the performing arts sector. Furthermore, touring artists pay US and Federal state taxes on their performance earnings.
I am calling on you to halt, or at least limit these onerous increases – increases that will hit an economy still in recovery from COVID-19 pandemic. Increases that not only impact musicians, but also dancers, actors, athletes, visual artists, and many others working in related artistic disciplines.